Esquire Netwok Raises A Glass To The Culinary World’s Toughest Test When “Uncorked” Premieres November 10th At 10pm ET/PT


Based on the documentary “SOMM,” “Uncorked” Charts The Journey Of Six of New
York’s Hottest Wine Stewards As They Attempt To Pass The Master Sommelier Test

Master Sommelier is more than just a title; it’s a badge of honor—and to earn it you need to be a wine expert in mind, body, and spirit—an achievement measured by passing one of the world’s most grueling exams. Only 230 people across the globe have passed the test in its 40 + year history, but this accomplishment allows a person entry into one of the world’s most exclusive clubs, where membership can lead to some of the most desirable jobs in the food and wine industry. Produced by Left/Right productions, and based on the fascinating documentary “Somm,” this one-hour, six-part docu-series will chronicle six aspiring Master Sommeliers preparing for, and finally attempting to pass, this ultimate test. Journey into one of the few worlds where drinking counts as studying, when UNCORKED premieres Tuesday, November 10 at 10/9c only on Esquire Network.To pass the Master Sommelier test, one must have an extensive knowledge of wine theory, the skills to perfectly present and serve wine to the most discerning palates, and from taste alone – the ability to determine the year, grape variety and region of a wine (down to the exact, tiny village where the grapes were grown). Earning the elusive title takes personal sacrifice, confidence, a comprehensive knowledge of every wine from around the world, and… a really thick skin. They’ll face harsh criticism from the Masters at every turn, but if they can endure and perform well in the finals, they just might realize their dream. The Sommeliers must pass all three parts (theory, service and blind tasting) in three years or they will have to start from square one.

“Wine is loved by people all over the world, but only a handful can say they’ve actually “mastered” it,” said Matt Hanna, head of original programming, Esquire Network. “We’re excited to take viewers inside this highly-competitive world and showcase the stories of these young wine experts as they sacrifice everything to tackle a test that has defeated thousands of candidates since it started 40 years ago.”

Attending tasting events around the world—from Sonoma to Spain—each hour-long episode of UNCORKED, will feature the Sommeliers swirling, smelling and “slurping” a multitude of wines. They also enter competitions overseen by Master Sommeliers including: Geoff Kruth, MS (President,, Andy McNamara, MS (Chairman, Court of Master Sommeliers), Fred Dame, MS (Founder, American Chapter of the Court of Masters) and Laura Maniec, MS (Co-Founder, Corkbuzz Restaurant & Wine Bar in New York and North Carolina). Impressing these Masters Sommeliers along the way will gain the candidates a huge advantage, as they strive to achieve their ultimate goal. In the final episode, the six Sommeliers finally face the exam they have been working towards for years, in the hopes of becoming a Master Sommelier.

Meet the Somms of UNCORKED:

Jack MasonBorn and raised in College Station, Texas, Jack Mason began working in local restaurants at a young age and pursued a culinary degree at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York. Midway through his studies, while fulfilling a wine education requirement, Jack’s interest was sparked and he decided to continue his education with a degree in Hospitality Management at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. There, he met Greg Harrington of Gramercy Cellars, who would become a mentor to him as he became a Teaching Assistant in a wine course and spent summers furthering his education by working in wine shops and restaurants back home.Upon graduating and returning to Texas, Jack spent over two years working as a Sommelier at the Grand Award-winning Pappas Brothers Steakhouse in Houston before moving to New York City in 2013. Jack honed his knowledge and love of Italian wine as a Sommelier at several of Michael White’s Italian restaurants, including Ai Fiori and Marea. In 2014, Jack joined the opening team of Marta as Wine Director, in which capacity he enjoys focusing on wines of southern Italy and Champagne to complement Chef Nick Anderer’s Roman-influenced menu, and furthering the team’s beverage education. Since opening Marta, he has been named one of Zagat’s and Forbes’ “30 under 30,” and Wine & Spirits, “Best New Sommeliers” of 2015. This will be Jack’s third time taking the exam.

Yannick BenjaminNYC native Yannick Benjamin is a sommelier at the University Club and lead lecturer for Saturday seminars at Le Du’s Wines in the West Village. A visit to Bordeaux at age 13 inspired Yannick to get involved with wine, and he went on to work at Le Cirque, Oceana, Jean Georges and Atlas prior to becoming a sommelier at Felidia and Atelier at the Ritz Carlton. He is currently an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers and has worked in restaurants since the age of 16 years old. He has finished as high as 2nd and 3rd Best Sommelier in America.In October 2003, a car accident left Yannick paralyzed below the waist, so he quickly adapted, outfitting his wheelchair with a table that allows him to continue to perform the tasks of a sommelier. Yannick’s current passion is his non-profit organization Wheeling Forward where he is the co-founder and director of development. Yannick is on his final attempt to pass the test.

Jane LopesJane Lopes graduated with a degree in Renaissance Literature from the University of Chicago, and a love for food, wine, and spirits. Starting her career in Chicago, she managed LUSH Wine and Spirits, a boutique wine, beer, and spirits shop, while simultaneously bartending at the craft cocktail mecca The Violet Hour.In August of 2011, Lopes moved to Nashville to be the opening Beverage Director at the nationally acclaimed Catbird Seat. Here, Lopes’ most exciting role was to design and execute pairings for a weekly-changing ten course tasting menu. Her unique style of creating pairings and approach to her beverage program in general has been acclaimed/featured in the New York Times, Imbibe, Wine Enthusiast, Tasting Table, and Eater, as well as other local and national media outlets.Lopes moved to New York in January of 2013 where she worked at Maialino and Ristorante Morini before landing at Eleven Madison Park in October of 2014. During her tenure in New York, Lopes passed her Advanced Exam through the Court of Master Sommeliers, receiving the second highest score, was named Wine & Spirits “Best New Sommelier” 2014, and won the Chaine des Rotisseurs Jeune Somm Nationals 2014. Lopes is taking the examination for the first time.
Dana GeiserA thirteen-year veteran of the wine industry, Dana Gaiser has served as a Sommelier and Beverage Director at top restaurants including Veritas, Estiatorio Milos and others in New York, Nantucket and California. He is currently Key Accounts Director for Lauber Imports, the fine wine division of the largest wine and spirits distributor in the United States.Dana first developed a taste for wine in his teens, alongside his parents when they started exploring and buying fine wines. By 18, he was selecting wines for their cellar and developing a palate for his first loves: Burgundy, German Riesling, and Champagne. After a four-year diversion studying mechanical engineering at Stanford, he accepted a position as an assistant sommelier, and the passion for wine became professional.After producing one of the top scores in the country on the Advanced Sommelier Exam and winning Top|Somm East Coast in 2013, Dana passed the Theory section of the Master Sommeliers Diploma Exam in February of 2014 and is pursuing the Blind Tasting and Service sections of the exam.
Morgan HarrisMorgan Harris was first exposed to wine – and the energy of the service industry – while working part-time at a 300-seat white-tablecloth Italian restaurant in Boston while he attended college. Around the same time, he happened upon an old copy of Victor Hazan’s Italian Wine from his parent’s bookshelf, and soon thereafter he found himself heading to New York City to pursue a growing passion for wine.
Morgan has competed at a national level for the Guild of Sommeliers’ Top New Sommelier and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Jeunes Sommeliers competitions; he was also a winner at the 2011 Ruinart Champagne Challenge, and he spent that fall working as a harvest assistant at Waters Winery in Walla Walla, Washington. In 2012, he was named one of Wine & Spirits magazine’s Best New Sommeliers.” In February 2014, Morgan passed his Masters CMS theory exam on his first attempt and will be making his second attempt at the service and tasting portions of the exam this year.Currently, Morgan works as a sommelier at the Michelin-starred Aureole restaurant in New York’s Times Square. He hopes to spend his career promoting wine as one of the planet’s finest agricultural products and a humanizing force for social good.
Josh NadelJosh Nadel: Josh Nadel is a native New Yorker and the Executive Beverage Director of Andrew Carmellini’s restaurants in New York City: The Dutch, Locanda Verde, Bar Primi, Little Park, Joe’s Public Theatre, and Lafayette. He is a certified Advanced Sommelier by the Court of Master Sommeliers and co-founder of Gothic Wine, a boutique winery in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. Previously, he was a Sommelier at the venerable wine-destination restaurants, Veritas and Cru in New York City. This will be Josh’s fourth time in taking the test.
UNCORKED is produced by Left/Right with Banks Tarver and Ken Druckerman serving as Executive Producers. The directors of the documentary “Somm,” Jason Wise, and Christina Wise, and Peter Goldwyn also serve as Executive Producers.